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Comment: Re:Propaganda Works (Score 1) 680

by dj245 (#49538317) Attached to: Except For Millennials, Most Americans Dislike Snowden

Something I will be curious to see over the next few decades is how propaganda is affected by advertising saturation. Something that has been worrying marketers is that young consumers (ones more accustomed to multitasking and who grew up with heavy advertizing) filter out a larger amount of marketing than other groups. Even as their knowledge and skills improve (ah, the dark uses of all those psych majors), advertising is becoming more difficult and consumers more jaded and less uniform. Since propaganda can be seen as a specialized form of marketing, I wonder how that type of manipulation is going to adjust. It used to be that one coherent message would affect most of the population the same way, but increasingly the same techniques and narratives will have differing effects on different populations. So what we tend to see more and more of is propaganda generating smaller more fanatical groups along with others forming backlash against tem.. it kinda works if you examine only the successful parts of the application, but is no longer all that useful for changing general public perception, just creating partisans.

Having traveled to North Korea and seen what propaganda looks like, you are wrong. Good propaganda is something that people want to believe, or could easily believe, even if it isn't true. Good propaganda has no opposing viewpoint that is credible. Good propaganda speaks to the choir, where the choir intentionally designed to be the largest possible audience. And anyone who isn't in the choir is a bad person.

Consider as just one example the propaganda that in North Korea, everyone must choose from 28 official state haircuts. It's something that the average American could easily be convinced to believe. Perhaps you read the story and believed it too. It sounds plausible enough for most westerners to believe.

Unfortunately, it was complete bunk. But just about everyone I talked to bought it. And they thought I was the odd one for believing otherwise.

Comment: Re:Cripple Linux? (Score 2) 174

by dj245 (#49530149) Attached to: Intel 'Compute Stick' PC-Over-HDMI Dongle Launched, Tested

Makes me wonder about the economics of producing these things. Apparently something related to the OS choices makes it worth Intel's while to develop separate models and the infrastructure to build each one, rather than just building the higher spec model and slapping either OS onto it.

It's things like this that hearken back to the glory days of the Evil Empire, and why people find it difficult to trust MS now.

Well, I can't speak for the Ubuntu one, but I have a Yoga 2 10" tablet with Windows 8 with nearly identical specs, only the Z3745 processor instead of this stick's Z3735. The difference in CPU is not significant.

2GB of RAM is not enough for web pages with endless scrolling, such as Tumblr, or bloated pages such as Chrome sucks up the RAM, and when there is none left, things aren't pretty. I use "The Great Suspender" addon which saves unused tabs to disk and frees up memory, but even that isn't enough. We are past the point where 2GB of RAM is enough for even simple web browsing. Maybe Ubuntu manages the limited memory better, but based on how much Chrome is using, the OS choice may be irrelevent and these devices really need 4GB of RAM.

Comment: Re:The BBC doesn't have much latitude here. (Score 2, Insightful) 662

by dj245 (#49345427) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

The BBC is a public broadcaster, funded and owned by mandatory license fees in the UK.Clarkson was on contract to the BBC. Once the organization confirmed that unprovoked verbal and physical abuse had occurred, they had to take action or leave the corporation open to an indefensible lawsuit from the victim. They can't exactly say, "Yeah, get stuffed. We have extensive policies promoting equality and prohibiting harassment and violence in the workplace, but we're ignoring them because the presenter is popular and profitable."

No doubt Clarkson and pals will make a profitable jump to Netflix or Sky to make a similar motoring comedy show. Meanwhile, the BBC has a chance to reinvent Top Gear with younger presenters and a reinvigorated format (there are only so many new Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Aston Martins that can be driven around a track in a cloud of smoke every week and only so many routes for contrived road trips through war zones in ancient sports cars).

If I wanted to see everyday cars that real people drive, I would go to a car dealership. Top Gear is the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous of cars. I will never buy a Lambo but that doesn't mean that watching them isn't fun.

Comment: Re:it could have been an accident (Score 1) 737

by dj245 (#49345319) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

No. You are trying to explain a mechanical failure of a door right at the moment when the aircraft suddenly starts descending into mountains all the while during which the copilot also does nothing to try to correct this unscheduled descent and also ignores air traffic control. Seriously if it has wings and floats on the water and looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. Your version requires many, many things to go wrong at once. The simple answer is, of course, only one thing went wrong - the co-pilot locked the door and set the plane to descend. Occam's razor, and all that.

Adding fuel to this theory is that the co-pilot was detatched and monosyllabic when receiving the briefing about landing in Dusseldorf - he had already made up his mind that he wasn't going to reach Dusseldorf. If the pilot wasn't going to go to the bathroom he probably was planning on killing the pilot anyway.

Give yourself the quick "MYSTERY SOLVED" pat on the back if you want, we're about 48 hours into an investigation which will probably last months. I'll wait for the final report.

Comment: Re:I call bullshit (Score 1) 166

by dj245 (#49304581) Attached to: Internet of Things Endangered By Inaccurate Network Time, Says NIST

Anyone who is designing such systems around "accurate time" hasn't got a freaking clue how to build such systems.

For example, when dealing with spacing on self-driving vehicles, you rely on radar or laser tracking to maintain the separation between vehicles, not some wildly inaccurate network message about the velocity and position sent by other vehicles.

Why not both? I deal with industrial controls somewhat frequently, and it is a common approach to take multiple inputs, align them into comparable units, then weight them according to their importance and add them together. Typically this is done in such a way that if the usual governing input fails, the remaining inputs, combined with the control logic, will guide the system into a safe state.

Comment: Re: What's more interesting to me... (Score 3, Insightful) 110

by dj245 (#49301571) Attached to: Amazon Launches One-Hour Delivery Service In Baltimore and Miami

If you have retail experience you will see that many people will come to the shop to try and then buy online. One counter is to sell your own products but that does not work in every sector.

Which reinforces the OP's point that shops need to offer more than aisles of product and a cash register. I went into a hobby store yesterday to look at, and possibly buy, an RC truck. I'm completely new to the hobby so I had many questions, such as "what would you use 5 channels for in an RC truck", "can the model with the brush motor be upgraded to brushless, and how much would that cost", "Can the 2WD models be upgraded to 4WD", etc etc. I needed a sales person who knew how to help me find what would be best for me. Instead, the shop was staffed by a 10 year old kid (not kidding) and a couple of older kids whose ages were a bit ambiguous but definitely under 16. I'm sure they are good kids but they don't know how to be a good salesperson.

This is kind of an extreme case but you can't sell product if you put no effort into selling product! In this case Amazon prices are the same as hobby shop prices (probably due to strict MSRP rules) so I would have been happy buying locally. And it doesn't help that nowhere are there comparison charts between some of the different RC models. Traxxas has about 8 different versions of the 1/10 Slash truck, but no table of differences. I expected a 30 minute education and buying experience, but now I have to research all over the internet, through countless forums, to answer all my newbie questions. Give me a decent salesperson any day of the week.

Comment: Re:Bundle (Score 1) 87

by dj245 (#49280587) Attached to: Apple Reportedly Working On an Online TV Service

When, o Lord, when, will they finally understand.

I do not want a "bundle" of preselected crap.

I want to choose my own crap, ala carte. If I only want ONE piece of crap, then that's all I'm going to buy from you: ONE piece of crap. I want to be able to stream my crap anywhere, any time, to any crappy device (which by the way I probably bought at one of your crowded crappy crap stores in a crappy mall).

Oh, and since I am PAYING YOU to provide me with this service, I will not suffer through even one crappy advertisement while I watch my crap. NOT.EVEN.ONE.

I will gleefully ignore any/all crap services that do not perform to my exact specifications.

It's pretty much like that now with most shows. You can buy each episode for 2 or $3. Whatever the % of shows that distribute this way, it is only going to increase as time goes on. This isn't an assault on that, just further options for people who prefer the certainty of a fixed budget (rather than a variably one) and think 25 channels is just the right amount of channels.

Comment: Re:"Publish or die" killed the science star (Score 2) 112

by dj245 (#49268789) Attached to: Scientific Study Finds There Are Too Many Scientific Studies

19th century system to a 21st century world. Science today is far more complex then it was a hundred years ago. Back then it was easy to get a superstar scientist. Experiment with a few hundred dollars of equipment you can find a new principal. Publish it and you are big news. Most of the easy stuff had been found we get some rare finds such as the discovery of graphine, but most of today's work is with expensive equipment needing a larger teams of scientist. That publish or parish methodology is antiquated. The better approach would be open and accessable sharing of data and results in real time where more can work on you work of progress, and less trying to be Mr. Know it all scientist, who will get the Nobel prize for stumbling on the best answer.

There is plenty of easy science still yet to be done in taboo subjects. The possibilities for illegal drugs alone are huge. Can't get funding? Crowdfund it. There are plenty of people who will contribute to good science in these areas, like this one which essentially is just putting people on LSD in a fMRI machine and looking at the results. I donated some money and it looks like 1279 other people did too. They are currently at 177% of their funding goal with 34 days remaining.

Right now, there are obviously a lot of donors and too few studies using crowd funding. That will surely change in the near future but I still think that is a far easier task to find 1280 people willing to give you $50 instead of finding 1 person willing to write a check for $66,000 (44,500 British Pounds). There are plenty of people like me who want to see research into these areas and are willing to pay for it.

Comment: Re:What a weird statistic. (Score 1) 262

by dj245 (#49251813) Attached to: US Wind Power Is Expected To Double In the Next 5 Years

Why do you use watt per square meter of home? If you closed off half your home, would you use half the power? Hell no. So it's not a useful stat, is it?

Oh, it'll drop, but not a massive ammount.

One reason why you use a huge amount of electric is that in Europe drying clothes on a clothesline (or clothes horse indoors in winter) is normal, whereas when I've discussed it on slashdot et al, Americans seem to think this is some pre-historic cro-magnon regression, barely above living in caves and huddling around a single fire for warmth.

Air-con isn't popular either, we'll put up with temperature changes in the home, though with common central heating now, it's more likely our homes will be set to warm up more than it used to.

The USA has high AC use because we have cities in very warm climates. Cities where the temperature can stay above 90F (32C) for weeks at a time- day AND night. Plus keeping a livable temperature in an office building improves productivity. I have worked in Tokyo in August and Baden, Switzerland in June. The high office temperature meant I could not maintain concentration nearly as well as in a US office building. If the $$ spent on air conditioning didn't deliver better productivity, we wouldn't spend the money. As for clothes driers, my wife is from Japan where line drying is normal and she quickly converted to drier-only. It is a huge labor and time saver, and clothes are a lot softer. If you put them on the hanger while still hot, ironing is only rarely required.

Comment: Re:It's all in the cow bell - only the beats are s (Score 1) 386

Exactly this. I have done percussion, and the cowbell (you're right there) is similar but the hi-hat work is not the same at all. So even the percussion line is not even identical.

When you're learning percussion, you drill books of STANDARD PERCUSSION LINES! The rhythms are *standardized*. This is worse than copyrighting QuickSort!

Jesus, next time just copyright chord progressions and have a government judge kill off music once and for all! Guess what? All blocks of code flying by on a screen on a movie *look the same* to a non-programmer. But they're clearly not to an expert, which is all that actually matters.

First they came for the syncopation, but I did not care for I was not a drummer.

As someone who recently picked up an instrument for the first time in a decade, you have convinced me. Maybe you should have represented the defense in court.

Comment: Re:A few criticisms (Score 1) 91

by dj245 (#49233979) Attached to: Dry-Ice Heat Engines For Martian Colonists

"your rotor velocity is then limited to the gas velocity,"

Well duh. There's no combustion happening inside the turbine so of course its going to be limited by the velocity of gas flowing into it.

As you approach a 1:1 ratio of tangential velocity and gas velocity, the efficiency falls off dramatically. At a 1:1 velocity ratio, that turbine stage is 0% efficient and not helping at all- the gas is no longer pushing it. For the most efficient design the tangential rotor velocity should be limited to 50-75% of the gas velocity.

Comment: Re:Maybe in a different country (Score 2) 498

by dj245 (#49224283) Attached to: Mental Health Experts Seek To Block the Paths To Suicide

Firearm accidents barely made it onto the chart I was looking at with 22 unintentional firearm deaths for the 10-14 year old category. It was the only place it was in the top ten causes of death for any age group all the way up to the 65+ category. vs. 1170 for being run over by cars 708 for drowning 1182 unintentional suffocation 408 being murdered by a parent/family member 58 dying from exposure (cold) 228 from burning to death 69 accidental death from beatings 116 bicycle accidents Source 2012 statistics form the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. in 2012.

Firearm deaths are hardly the "low hanging" fruit on things killing children in the US, and it hardly happens "every single day" Hence why most "gun nuts" get more than a little agitated when it is used as a reason to take away their rights.

It isn't a low hanging fruit. It is part of a multipronged approach, tackling all of the ways people die needlessly.

Automakers spend billions of dollars making their cars more safe, going to great lengths to add features that increase survivability. The government sets standards that must be met if the car is allowed to be sold.

Local governments and state/national governments spend millions of dollars making lakes, rivers and beaches more safe, by adding signage, marking hazards and swimming areas, hiring lifeguards, building lighthouses, etc.

Just about every plastic bag is marked with warnings not to allow children to play with them. Lampcords and blinds have standards now that are supposed to make them safer and more difficult for young children to hang themselves.

"408 being murdered by a parent/family member" How many of those were by gun?

"58 dying from exposure (cold)" Governments all over the world, including the USA, have programs subsidizing fuel for the poor. Lots of effort and money is spent predicting the weather and issuing cold weather / winter storm warnings.

"228 from burning to death" - The government spends a huge amount of money on fire education and local municipalities subsidize smoke detectors, CO detectors, and other fire safety items. Etc.

So we do take action to try to prevent those causes of deaths. We spend billions of dollars a year on reducing them, and try to educate those in society about the dangers. The argument "accidental gun shootings are just another, of many common ways to die" only works if you are willing to treat it the same way as we treat other deaths. By education, regulation, and by using every other tool available. Gun advocates complaining about regulation and education is as absurd as a match or lighter manufacturer complaining about Smokey the Bear. The goal is to make the product more safe, and the public more educated, so it isn't as vilified.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.